Lollapalooza 2013 Day Three: Everything Must End
By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 5, 2013 8:45PM
Photo Credit: Ashley Garmon / Lollapalooza
As expected, Sunday at Lollapalooza things calm down a bit and grow mellower than the previous day. From the second I entered the festival grounds shortly before noon to my exit after the headliners' sets I noticed a marked change in the crowd. I don't know if it was the pleasant weather—I've never experienced a Chicago-based Lollapalooza that was not only not scorching but at times actually chilly—or just the general sense of community that seems to grow after three days of being in close quarters and learning how not to be a jerk to your fellow man, but Sunday was pretty delightful overall. Even the time I spent at Perry's stage, in the crowd to get the full feel, didn't have that same overly aggressive feel of previous days. My own experience during the day was pretty trouble-free, but it seems as if there are still some growing pains as the festival grows ever larger, with a capacity of 100,000 over last year's 90,000 people a day. - Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
Security at Grant Park for Lollapalooza Sunday was extra vigilant after Saturday’s bum rush of the beer tents along Columbus by kids with fake IDs. But instances of people without wristbands verifying their age walking around with cans of beer was still evident, if not as rampant as the day before. But the amenities were still taxed to their maximum from mid-afternoon onward, which C3 Productions’ Charlie Jones addressed backstage. Jones said his team counted wait times of 11 minutes at the porta-potties on the south end of the fest. Jones also said attendance averaged over 100,000 people each day of the fest and that it’s expanded about as far as it can go.
If Jones and his partners hope to improve the logistics for next year, they can start by not overselling. 300,000 people, even in the expanded confines of this year’s festival, is too much to manage. - Chuck Sudo
Rivals of the Peacemaker. Photo Credit: Will Rice / Lollapalooza
The music line-ups at The Grove stage were, for the most part, as perfectly booked as the DJs at Perry’s Stage all weekend. Sunday’s festivities kicked off with a rollicking half-hour set from local act Rivals of the Peacemaker. Doug and Alex Watson have managed to put together a tight quintet capable of switching from classic country and roadhouse blues to straight ahead rock and even bits of metal. The high-energy set was a perfect start to the day. Their songs sound like they’re in it for the long haul; you can see for yourself at their record release party August 8 at Empty Bottle. - Chuck Sudo
Palma Violets. Photo Credit: Dave Mead / Lollapalooza
Palma Violets kicked things off on the north end of the park on the Bud Light with the odd choice of opening with a cover of The Rivieras "California Sun." For a relatively unknown British group to open with something like that to a crowd unfamilar with them had the unfortunates effect of coloring the sound of their entire set. On their debut the band does a fine job of bashing out '60s tinged garage rock that has lovely little moments of pure aggression, but after "California Sun" all their songs painted them as a surf band whose bassist likes to make angry faces at the audience. They're young and I get that their sneering attitude probably works great in a club setting, but under the sun at 1 p.m. in the afternoon their performance didn't live up to their posturing. - Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
At the far end of the park, Chilean electro rockers Astro won a sparse crowd at the Red Bull Sound Select stage over with a pounding 45-minute set that incorporated South American polyrhythms and melodies lifted so blatantly from 80s pop the quartet may owe the one-hit wonders of that decade music royalties.
Wild Belle. Photo Credit: Matt Ellis / Lollapalooza
White is always a good color to wear in summer and that’s exactly what Wild Belle did as they bounded the Lakeshore stage in white suits, their amplifier cabinets and keyboard rigs decked in wood, like some party scene out of Anchorman. On a day with the sun beating down on Hutchinson Field’s softball diamonds, what was needed was something upbeat and energetic instead of Wild Belle’s persistent laid-back grooves reaching out to a crowd still amped by Astro’s set on the other side of the field. There were some good things to take from their set. Natalie Bergman’s stage presence has improved markedly since her stilted performance at last year’s A.V. Club/Hideout Block Party. But she may have taken it as far as she can go, even with the addition of a guitar strapped around her shoulder. Between the band and the crowd, I was having flashbacks to MTV Spring Break performances. All that was needed was shitty dope. - Chuck Sudo
I started off Sunday by checking out some of the non-musical areas of the grounds. I typically avoid Kidzapalooza because, you know, kids, but there was some awesome programming like a skateboarding tutorial and hip hop workshop. Watching kids with neon painted fauxhawks learn how to beat box and ask for autographs from the Chicago Youth Skateboard Project reps was the cutest thing I saw all weekend.
I don’t understand the appeal of waiting in a line that doesn’t promise beer or a bathroom on the other end, but plenty of people were queued up at the Toyota Hybrid House Party area to exchange their email address for a coveted Lolla cooling bandanna. The Green Street Art Market provided retail therapy away from the crowds, and it was great seeing local orgs like Urban Habitat Chicago and Working Bikes in the mix accessing such a wide audience. The Lolla Farmer’s Market was limited and out of the way wedged between Green Street and the Grove stage. It’s a nice touch and it would be great to see this area expanded in the future, but Seedling sold out of peaches so someone found it. After downing Bud Light and Thorny Rose all weekend, stumbling upon the “Craft Beer” tent sign was a beacon. Maybe we’re just spoiled with the glut Chicago microbrews, but I think organizers can step up the accessibility and offering to more than a single location serving 312 and Stella. By Sunday night, I had to travel between multiple beverage stations in search of the dwindling wine water bottle supply, but I still think it was the best deal of the fest. I also paid $9 for a bacon mac 'n' cheese dog (normally $7.95) and waited 15 minutes to receive it after ordering - but god it was worth it. - Jessica Milinaric
Courtney Mitchell / Chicagoist
The most fascinating experience I had at Lolla was away from the main stages. I spent about 30 minutes hanging around in front of the security/press area at the southern end of Columbus just waiting to meet someone and witnessed some comical and uncomfortable action while chatting with C3 employees. One girl barely old enough to fill out her tube top was escorted out in handcuffs, whimpering through her tears, “I didn’t know what it was. Someone just told me to sell it.” Another girl flailed unconscious in the back of a medic vehicle like the Monty Python plague cart. Whizzing past, the driver paused to comment, “You can tell she’s a Redwings fan!” The undercover cops I met seriously blended in with the crowd, so think twice before you sell to that rugged dude in Doc boots and a Slayer tee. I watched one strung out kid claiming to be a C3 employee try to sneak in saying he was on break. When he realized security was radioing in for verification he took off across the Red Bull stage lawn with two employees sprinting in pursuit. One employee’s brother almost caught the guy, who had darted back to Perry’s until he thought twice. “I had no credentials on me and I’m a black man, I can’t tackle a white kid in the middle of a crowd.” I asked one employee about working Lolla, “During the day everyone is O.K., but once night falls people go nuts.” - Jessica Milinaric
Over the weekend I heard much grumbling backstage from VIP-types about having less access to things due to the new Platinum Pass VIPs sold by the festival this year. Now, I'm going to be honest here and say that anyone who gets free access to a festival like this and then complains because they can't go here or can't go there should probably not be given that access. And 99 percent of the people backstage have very little to do with the actual world of music—business, media, promotion, or artistry—anyway. So, considering the amount of money folks paid for those Platinum Passes I think they fully deserve to be pampered and chauffeured and fed and given preferential treatment. In the end Lollapalooza is a business and businesses adapt with the times and the public's wants and needs, and increased access for an increased ticket price seems more than fair to me. Heck, that meant less people outside waiting in the lines for other amenities! - Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
MS MR. Photo Credit: Will Rice / Lollapalooza
MS MR continued the frenzy at The Grove with a frenetic set of New York fashion-conscious rock, calculated to play across the street to festival attendees waiting for food. Singer Lizzy Plapinger was a whirling dervish onstage with her shock of orange hair as memorable as her raspy vocals. The crowd, packed to the gills, responded with a fervor I’d only seen at Perry’s Stage for much of the weekend. - Chuck Sudo
I was happy to catch SKATERS on The Grove stage early on in the afternoon. The New York City band only formed last year, but all members were involved with other bands previously and their experience showed. With their debut slated for this fall, I enjoyed previewing material beyond the two currently released tracks and their upbeat post-punk was an energetic start to the day. They closed with a cover of “Territorial Pissings,” which is always a win. - Jessica Mlinaric
Tegan and Sara. Photo Credit: Theo Wargo / Getty Images
Tegan and Sara drew a large mid-day crowd over at the Red Bull stage, mixing in older material like “Back in Your Head” with newer material including their Tiesto collaboration “Feel You in My Bones.” Tegan praised the rarity of perfect Chicago fest weather, joking about their 2005 Lolla set when Sara cut their performance short succumbing to heat stroke. The sisters made it through 2013’s set without incident and their introspective electro pop didn’t miss a beat as they closed with “Closer.” - Jessica Milinaric
Two Door Cinema Club. Photo Credit: Dave Mead / Lollapalooza
Feeling a bit winded I made my way to the south fields again, where I would spend the majority of the remainder of the day. I've never connected with Alt-J, but since they won the English Mercury prize last year I am in the minority, critically. The group's quiet atmospherics don't feel deep or varied enough on their album, but their music was absolutely perfectly suited to floating over the field. I found a spot on the grass and lay back, concentrating on listening, and found myself transported away from the throngs and fell into the audio version of a quiet idyll. Two Door Cinema Club had amped me up but Alt-J brought me back down in the most pleasant ways.
Grizzly Bear. Photo Credit: Matt Ellis / Lollapalooza
As their set wound down I was jolted back upright as Grizzly Bear surged out of the gate with an energy and, well, pure rocking-out factor I've never heard from them before. At first I double-checked my schedule to make certain I was in the right place and the bands hadn't been shuffled due to another scheduling mishap. It's been a few years since I saw them last so it's truly fascinating to see what kind of a live act they've grown into, eschewing the quieter bits from their past and going more directly for the jugular. Granted, to do so the band has sacrificed some of the gentler beauties from the albums but in a live setting it worked perfectly for them. - Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
I’ve seen and heard Beach House a couple of times at different festivals, and while I’m not all that into mellow dreamy pop these days, their set was the perfect thing late into the last day of the fest as exhaustion was really setting in. I caught them and a little bit of Grizzly Bear lounging in the grass on the east side of Hutchinson Field in a nice little area Samsung Galaxy had set up for attendees. Grizzly Bear surprised me by beginning their set with a harder guitar edge than I thought that they had in them. I do really enjoy their tracks “On a Neck, On a Spit” and “Two Weeks,” and their energy transitioned nicely into Beach House’s set across the field on the Lake Shore Stage. Victoria Legrand’s airy vocals and delicate keys didn’t make me sleepy as I might have expected, I instead found them really relaxing, and along with taking some time off my feet, I was recharged with their uplifting sound as the sun set on the final day. - Michelle Meywes
The Vaccines. Photo Credit: Dave Mead / Lollapalooza
By the time The Vaccines took the stage late in the afternoon things were getting weird on the north end. With the home stretch of Lolla weekend in sight, the crowd made a last push to cling to festival euphoria. The Vaccines played up this enthusiasm with a tight and vigorous set that indulged the moshing, make-outs, and general gymnastics (seriously round offs) at the Petrillo stage. If you’re gonna be a day wasted acrobat, what better soundtrack to chant to than, “Pretty girl, wreckin' bar, Ra ra ra ra yeah you are!” - Jessica Milinaric
Skrillex of Dog Blood. Photo Credit. Jack Edinger / Lollapalooza
Major Lazer took the stage next. While Dog Blood had certainly upped the ante, I had faith—especially after their truly memorable and out-of-control gonzo set at Pitchfork a few years ago—Major Lazer would not disappoint. And then Major Lazer let me down by, in fact, being disappointing. The dancers that had so dominated their previous live sets with insane acrobatics and boundless energy were largely hidden from view. Diplo and Switch spent most of their time standing on top of the DJ booth instead of working it, and despite constant entreaties to go wild, the crowd never really did. There was dancing to be certain, but after Dog Blood's assault, Major Lazer's beats felt thin by comparison. I am the LAST person I ever expected to say something Skrillex did was better than something Diplo did, but there you have it. - Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
If the scene at Perry’s stage resembled one long American Apparel ad, the crowd response to Vampire Weekend was straight out of a Gap commercial. This was the religious fervor missing from most of the weekend. What was most surprising was how at ease the New York quartet felt on a large festival stage. Although it shouldn’t have been shocking; songs like “Diane Young,” “Ya Hey”and “Horchata” are perfectly crafted to play to the far reaches of fans forming dance circles on the farthest stretches of the field. For all the criticisms of the band, Vampire Weekend’s songs are wonderful, danceable ditties. If the critics want to bash them as having listened to Paul Simon’s Graceland too much, let ‘em. If they’re this good know, imagine how better they’ll be once they develop a genuine interest in the sounds of the African diaspora. —Chuck Sudo
Robert Smith of The Cure. Photo Credit: Matt Ellis / Lollapalooza
Robert Smith has gone from mysterious to sexy to looking like your lovable loony grandpa in drag but his songs haven't changed one bit. The Cure mines a very particular broodiness but has always managed to do so in a manner that not only delivers unlikely hit but feels life affirming in the end. The set opened with "Plainsong", "Pictures of You" and "Lullaby " and I began to wonder if all the material would be from Disintegration (which would've ben O.K. with me). The mood was perfect and the night was gently breezy so that trio was the perfect set up. Before long the band did start churning out the hits, including "In Between Days", "Just Like Heaven" and "Friday I'm In Love." Admittedly the crowd seemed a bit small for a headliner on the festival's largest stage, but that led to a more intimate feel to their show. I suspect things might have worked out better for the crowd at Phoenix on the other end of the field had the bands swapped stages. I made my way over to catch part of Phoenix's set and got just north of Buckingham Fountain before realizing I was probably at the appropriate distance given the crowd ahead.
When you weave together all four writers' experiences over the last three days, ultimately this year's Lollapalooza was an enjoyable one. But it is also beginning to display some issues that should make the festival organizers take a step back and seriously consider, including either expanding the footprint or bringing the capacity back down. Now it's time to start counting down the days to Lollapalooza 2014. - Jim Kopeny / Tankboy